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The Term “Influence” Does Mean A Lot

Posted by on Jan 5, 2011
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Last week I was reading a post by Chris Brogan titled Improve Your Influence. The most interesting thing I found in the post was actually the first line, where he stated “The term “influence” doesn’t mean a lot, and yet, it seems to be the holy grail for online social media people“. The reason it was so interesting is that the rest of his post indicated that he pretty much understands how influential he is, whether he was trying to get there or not, and some of the name dropping, which I’m going to do some day (smile), shows that he knows and has talked to some fairly influential people.

social circles of influence
Social Circles of Influence
by Anne Adrian

Being more influential in 2011 is one of my goals for the year, and I figure this blog is probably the one that’s going to help me get there. It was actually because of a comment made by Chris on one articles that prompted my post asking how I could be useful to some of you, and I thank those of you who responded. It pretty much gave me permission to be, well, more of me this coming year, which in turn helps some of y’all be more of you. In a way, it made me think of two lines from the movie Happy Feet, both of which most of us should have in our repertoire of favorite lines, even if we keep them to ourselves; to whit:

I hear the world wanting something… Me!!!

Thank you; I’ll take a moment for myself.

So far I’ve followed some bits of advice in working on that influence thing. I wrote a post where I pretty much showed every link I knew of that talked about me in some fashion.

I’ve given thoughts to the messages I’m trying to project with this blog an realized that me talking about, well, pretty much everything, seems to work for me here, as long as I don’t deviate too much from the norm too often; no promises on that one, but it does prove to be a good thing that I have that other blog to keep me grounded somewhat.

I’ve set up ways for people to like me on Facebook or retweet posts they like. And I’m still figuring out new ways to use social media to work on that influence thing.

In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that a big part of our becoming more influential with our blogs or social media actually coincides with three of our favorite characters from the Wizard of Oz. Let me explain; stay with me on this one.

The Scarecrow said he needed a brain. The Wizard gave him a diploma. If you check your thesaurus, another word that can be used for diploma is “credentials”. Those of us who write about things that we have the credentials for and can prove it on a consistent basis have a great opportunity to increase our influence as we go along.

The Tin Man said he needed a heart. The Wizard gave him a testimonial, which meant that he honored the Tin Man in a way that others could see the type of person he was. When we acknowledge others at times, like I did in my 5 Top 10’s post, he not only help boost them but we boost ourselves because we show that we know it’s not only about us. Very few people succeed on their own; that’s a hard lesson to learn. Touting others helps your influence because it will come back to you in spades (I wonder what that phrase actually means).

The Cowardly Lion said he lacked courage. The Wizard gave him a medal and called him a hero. I tend to believe that every person that writes a blog and continues writing, even when it seems somewhat fruitless, is a hero, and eventually heroes are noted by someone for their contributions. Heroes also help other solve problems, or gain perspective about things, and that’s also a big part of blogging. Become a hero and your influence will definitely grow.

I don’t try to make my bones by disagreeing with someone whose words I’ve come to enjoy reading (but rarely comment on his blog because it’s a Disqus blog, and you know how I feel about that. In this case, I really don’t think I’m disagreeing with him overall, except for the perspective of the first line of that particular post. It just seems so obvious that whether one wishes to be influential or not, if they provide what he’s said and what I’ve written here, how can anyone not end up being influential? And if that’s occurring, then the “term” does mean a lot, as well as the actions that get us there.

Your thoughts on all of this?

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22 Comments »

Patricia:

Hi Mitch

You are such a movie buff :-) I am not so, I have to take your word for it when you are quoting these characters lol

We can all be influencers on our own blogs. Are we also influencers in the blogosphere? And who are we influencing? Cos we all mix in different blogging/marketing circles.

Some of the people who are influencing other bloggers, aren’t influencing me! Then maybe some people who may not be seen as “big” influencers have definitely influenced my blogging journey.

At the end of the day…..I believe in just being myself, with my own unique brand. Others will decide if I am an influecer. It sure won’t be me ;-)

Patricia Perth Australia

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Hi Pat,

Trust me, those quotes are accurate (I’ve seen that movie at least 60 times or more). lol As for influence, I tend to believe that many of us don’t realize either how we’re influenced by others or how we influence others. It doesn’t necessarily mean you changed anyone’s mind on anything; it does mean you make people think about things though.

You said you’ve learned a lot about blogging from reading other blogs, including this one. In that way, we’ve influenced you, your choices, and how you’ve created a community for yourself. But you’ve also influenced people by participating in the community, writing your posts, answering everyone, retweeting others. The larger our communities get, the more people we influence, and thereby are influenced by. Kind of like the guy I linked to; he’s influenced me in a few ways, but for this post, he’s influenced me because he made me think and made me write this particular post.

That’s the beauty of it all. ;-)

January 5th, 2011 | 10:57 AM

Yeah influence is an subjective term. How will you be tracking your progress?

I agree 100% with Patricia, in that we don’t really create our own influence, per say. We do the best we can, but others decide whether we will be a leader or a follower. I do believe in being yourself for the most part. However, sometimes we have to amplify a certain positive aspect of ourselves and really get that out there while perhaps bringing some of our less lovely qualities to the back burner :-) And in the end, all of this just takes time.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

True Susan, it does always take time. Still, we do have to be out there somewhat to have the opportunity to be influencers, wouldn’t you agree? And if you’re really working the system, taking every opportunity that pops up, to get your name into the public domain, wouldn’t that be a way you’re at least trying to be more influential, whether it takes or not?

January 5th, 2011 | 12:40 PM

You have such a wide knowledge base and can discuss most anything in an engaging manner – even leaky windows – that I always enjoy reading your work. I’m a pretty average person, so I predict that sticking with this formula will work very well for you.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Allan. Course, I love how you write as well so I figure we’ll both be very influential at the same time. I can’t remember who said this line, but it goes “I’m a be me.” lol

January 5th, 2011 | 6:44 PM

Like the saying goes, “We can should be the change we want to see in the world.”, we can also be the influence we want to see in others. As we go on our day to day lives, we are influencing others and are being influenced even if we do not want to. As marketers or bloggers, we are writing because we want to influence people. The outcome of this influence is where we all differ though because there are others who want to influence to make a sale, while there are others, like you, Mitch, who want to influence because they want to see someone better themselves.

So, thanks for posting this, Mitch. It is a thought-provoking piece that we could be influenced by. :)

– Wes -

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Wes; appreciate those words. I will have to admit, though, that I want to be influential for my long term survival as well as in helping others. I don’t quite take a Rev. Ike mindset (just realized I shouldn’t assume you know who Rev. Ike is, so here’s a link if you’re interested in taking a quick look) where he believed everything geared towards money was a good thing (he taught people that they should ask for whatever they wanted), but there’s nothing wrong with earning money by doing the right things.

January 5th, 2011 | 8:53 PM

Hi Mitch,
I agree with Patricia, we can all be influencers on our very own blogs. It only differs to the type of people we are influencing.. and it’s always the others who get to decide if you are an influencer or not.

I believe that sticking to our own individuality is what will set us apart from the others. It just takes a lot of time, patience and effort.

I only remember about the Cowardly Lion being given a medal. I’m glad you mentioned about the other two (the Scarecrow and the Tin Man). I liked the story of the Wizard of Oz, although I vaguely remember all of it.

Thank you for sharing!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Johanna, I watch Wizard of Oz every time it comes on TV, even though I own the movie already. And yes, individuality will help to set us apart as long as we’re willing to put it out there. Reminds me of a quote I have in a file on my computer: “You’re unique, just like everybody else.”

Patricia Reply:

Hey Mitch

That’s a great quote. Do you know who said it? I would love to use that in a post ;-)

Patricia Perth Australia

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Pat, it was one of those anonymous quotes I found on the internet maybe 8 or 9 years ago, so it was probably someone who decided to write something funny, and there you go. Use it; I did. lol

January 6th, 2011 | 4:40 AM

I think influence is very important, not only for online business, but for everything. For about a year, I’ve lost a lot of my influence and positions, but 2011 I will get it back and will be stronger, the first step is done, I kicked all the “weasels” that tried to disturb my position and same as you, this is one of my goals.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

There you go Carl; be the man! lol You’re right, all of us are going to be better in 2011.

January 6th, 2011 | 5:50 AM

Mitch – I think it’s a good idea to be more of yourself in 2011 since you want to be more influential. I feel influence is something that is earned by those who people can see themselves in.

People want to be influenced by someone that they look at as one of their own, not by someone they feel they barely know.

This is why I think you’re going to succeed in your goal to be more influential in 2011, because all you got to do really is be yourself.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks John. I’m going to give it a shot, but I also have to remember the responsibility that comes with such a goal. I’m still going to have fun with it all, though.

January 6th, 2011 | 7:49 AM

The farther out the ripples go, the harder they are to measure. So at some point, you don’t know what influence you’re having. I think you have to assume you’re having a greater influence than you’re aware of, and in your case, I’m almost sure that’s the case.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Charles. You know, I figure that as long as we try to do things that don’t hurt anyone else we’re all good. That’s my ultimate goal, though it doesn’t mean I won’t call someone out when necessary. And it is hard to measure, but I figure if it’s going well, you’ll learn about it soon enough.

January 6th, 2011 | 9:25 AM

I can’t say I am actively trying to be influential, but I do believe it’s something that comes naturally when you do things the right way, and you give people every mean for them to notice it.
Good luck with your plan, I am sure you won’t have many problems with it.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Gabriele. It seems that, at least in person, the topic generates a lot of interesting conversation and perspective.

January 7th, 2011 | 4:36 AM

Hey Mitch,
If you want to be influential you don’t necessarily have to help everybody, meet anyone or something like that. You can do it through other means. Like being influential through others.
So you can meet influential people and influence them, this way you practically use the influence of other to gain your own influence… (does that makes any sense?).

Or you can do it your way and earn you influence by hard work, anyway you do it I wish you good luck with it Mitch :)

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

You make a great point, Alex, and it’s something I think about from time to time as well. For instance, you’re listening to someone and they quote something they heard & tell you who it’s from, and that second person’s influence grows because of it. I’m thinking that I don’t say much that’s really quotable; my mind doesn’t quite work that way. But at least I think about it.

January 7th, 2011 | 8:20 AM